River-Run-mosiac_441976_ver1.0_1280_720 Thousands to run downtown roads, bridges in 41st 'Gate'

The 2018 Gate River Run, which also serves as the USA Track and Field 15K National Championship, will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday — 30 minutes earlier than in past years.

The races, including a 5K, challenge mile and Junior River Run, are expected to draw more than 20,000 runners and walkers, all starting and ending in the sports complex area near EverBank Field.

The Elite woman will get a six-minute head start, with the gun sounding at 7:54 a.m.

News4Jax will cover the race in it’s entirety, with Sam Kovaris at the start/finish, Cole Pepper and Crystal Chen along the course, and cameras and SKY4 tracking the runners along the 9.3-mile route.

The 15K championship features $60,000 in prize money, with $10,000 awards for the first-place male and female finishers. An equalizer gender bonus of $5,000 will also be awarded to the first man or woman to cross the finish line.

But the vast majority of those lacing up for the race will be recreational runners, trying to top their personal best or even running the longest race of their lives.

The start of the 15K and 5K races were moved back to allow the runners to avoid warmer temperatures later in the morning.

Schedule of events

Gate River Run 15K – Starts on Gator Bowl Boulevard
— Elite Women – 7:54 a.m.
— Wave One – 8 a.m.
— Wave Two – 8:06 a.m.
— Wave Three – 8:12 a.m.
— Wave Four – 8:18 a.m.

The Florida Times-Union 5K for Charity – Starts on Duval Street
— All racers – 8 a.m.

Brooks Rehabilitation Challenge Mile – Starts on Duval Street
— All racers – 10 a.m.

Junior River Run – Starts on Duval Street
— All racers – 11 a.m.

The reigning men’s and women’s champions are returning to defend their 15K national championship titles: Olympian Leonard Korir (43:22), running for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) and Jordan Hasay (49:28), representing The Nike Oregon Project.

In addition to last year’s champions, the elite field includes a number of other highly decorated athletes, making for a very competitive race that has the potential to put the course records at risk. The men’s record of 42:22 was set by Todd Williams in 1995 while the women’s record of 47:00 was more recently set in 2014 by Shalane Flanagan.

Other prominent elite athletes running this year’s race include:

Men’s Elite
— Sam Chelanga (43:28)
— Kirubel Erassa (43:55)
— Emmanuel Bor (debut) – 13:43 5K / 47:39 10Mi
— Jared Ward (debut) – Olympian: Rio Marathon 6th – 13:34 5K / 28:36 10K
— Ryan Vail (43:43)
— Kiya Dandena (44:36)

Women’s Elite
— Molly Huddle (49:57) – 2-time Olympian and American record holder – 5K / 10K / Half
— Natosha Rogers (50:01)
— Molly Seidel (debut) – 15:15 5K / 33:15 10K
— Diane Nukuri (debut) – 15:34 5K / 31:28 10K
— Elvin Kibet (debut) – 15:36 5K / 32:40 10K

For a complete list of elite athletes participating in the 2018 Gate River Run 15K National Championship, please visit the USATF website.

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